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Neurological Disorder

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

  
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Capone

Noms for the- pug...
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 29, '13 8:42am PST 
Capone was just diagnosed with a neurological disorder. He started showing symptoms Tuesday evening so I took him to the E-Vet. Then Wednesday, we went to our regular vet for confirmation. They can’t specify what type without more detailed testing, such as an MRI which we would have to travel for, but the vet said there was not much point as there are no cures and limited options regardless of the specific neurological disease.

He has hemiparesis in his left side. He can move his limbs, stand and walk on his own. But he clearly has limited control of his left limbs and they splay out at odd angles sometimes and sometimes just give out on him and he plops down awkwardly. He also can no longer walk straight. He walks only by circling to the right and it takes him several tries to line himself up to get through a doorway or position himself at his water bowl.

He will drink water on his own, but is less stable when he lowers his head so I’m going to get him a raised set of bowls today. But he won’t eat food out of his bowl at all, not even when I lift it for him. I have had to hand feed him since Tuesday night. He is still very interested in food, but only if it comes directly from my hand.

He has slept on my bed with me his entire life, but now I can’t allow that because he will unknowingly walk right off the bed trying to get settled. So I put a rug down beside my side of the bed for him to lay on, but the past two nights he’s just paced back and forth and when he does lay down it’s more often on the hardwood than on the rug. I thought about putting a pillow on the floor or getting him a doggie bed, but when I have tried putting him on the sofa or bed he seems more uncomfortable. I think the more cushy something is, the less secure his footing is and it makes him nervous.

The vet did give me some antibiotics to try in case the problems were brought on by or exacerbated by an inner ear infection, but he didn’t seem hopeful that they would work. He said it would more than likely progressively get worse until he couldn’t get up at all. Ultimately, he said I should just keep him calm and comfortable until the time comes to make that horrible decision. Right now, except for being a bit disoriented and confused, he’s still his normal happy self. He wags his tail every time I talk to him or pet him. He’s also not in any pain. So until it either gets to the point where he can’t move or his mind goes and I can tell he’s not really there anymore, I know I’m going to hold on and do everything I can to make the time he has left happy and fun.

So I guess my questions are: 1) Does anybody know what I can expect? The vet wasn’t clear if it would progress quickly or slowly, maybe because there’s no answer and it depends on the individual dog. But if anybody has any experience with something like this, I’d love to have a rough idea of what to expect.
2) Does anyone have any ideas on how I can make him more comfortable? As I said above, I intend to raise his food and water bowls to see if that helps. If he doesn’t eat from his bowl, I will continue to hand feed him. I’m carrying him up and down all steps now. We have carpet in the living room where we spend most of our time, but the rest of the house is hardwood/linoleum. I have a few small rugs laid out and I put down some towels in his favorite places to lay like in front of the vents, but he seems to be avoiding them or oblivious to them and spends just as much time on the hardwood. I don’t have any way to cover the whole house in carpet/rugs right now. Any suggestions for what would be best for him to sleep on at night that he might like?

I’m really upset right now and just trying to focus on what I can do to help him. So any help would be appreciated.
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Sabi

When the night- closes in I will- be there
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 29, '13 11:07am PST 
hughug

I understand the pain of dealing with this type of diagnosis. It's horrible when they tell you that there is nothing more to be done, and it is terrible to watch them struggle.
Sabi was diagnosed with DM almost a year ago. She can't feel her back legs and that affects here ability to balance properly. I have had to ban her from the bed and we have rubber backed rugs covering areas she needs to walk.
I too found that she wants to sleep on the hard floors which makes things worse and I believe that you are correct that the soft surfaces of dog beds and such seem to make them frighteningly unsteady. I have no doubt that in Capones case the ear infection is adding problems so you need to definitely stay on top of that. Walmart sells cheap, machine washable, rubber-backed mats and I have them everywhere.
Beyond that all I can offer is my empathy and understanding. I swore that as long as Sabi was still happy, eating and wagging her tail I would let this go, but it's killing me to watch. Every time she stumbles or falls my heart cracks a bit more
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Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 29, '13 11:50am PST 
Capone... what do his eyes look like??? Is there any rapid eye movements that he can't seem to control?? I ask because I have had several dogs get Canine Vestibular disease which sounds almost exactly what you are describing, EXCEPT there is a definite nystagmus, or rapid eye movement.
CVD is often missed by MANY vets because it mimics strokes and/or brain tumors, etc. My own vet told me my first dog had suffered a stroke and I should think about euthaniza... I read up on CVD and discussed that with him and HE read up on it, and this dog recovered completely within a week!!! Had I not known about it I most likely would have euthanized her, especially sad since I had another GREAT five years before I ultimately lost her from heart disease.
The good news... for whatever reason, dogs DO normally improve from this condition, usually within a few days there is marked improvement and they slowly progress until nearly perfect again. Sometimes there is a head tilt or a residual limb weakness left, especially in older dogs.
I have found in my last two dogs who had this that giving a small dose of valium in the first few days helps relax them and calm them down which I believe enables them to heal faster.
My last Frenchie had it was so bad during the first few days that she would literally fall over when she tried to stand and would make herself more dizzy by walking in circles, which would in turn make her vomit. In her case my vet prescribed a low dose steroid which I really believe helped her at least feel better.
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Capone

Noms for the- pug...
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 29, '13 12:33pm PST 
Sabi - I'm so sorry to hear that Sabi has been going through something similar for so long. I was thinking I was probably looking at weeks or maybe a few months, but if I have to watch him struggle with this for a year or more... It's already heart-breaking. But I simply can't euthanize him if he's happy and not in pain. hug

Toto - I haven't seen any rapid eye movement at all. His right eye does appear to be just slightly off center (looking further to the right than usual), but it's very, very slight. Or it could just be my imagination but I think I'm right. But when he looks at me, his eyes are perfectly straight forward and no movement whatsoever. When he turns his head towards the right, either while walking or just standing, that's when his right eye seems to veer a little off course, but other than that I haven't seen anything strange about his eyes. I was actually just googling all the various disorders they suggested (stroke, pug encephilitis, GME, brain tumor) and came across an article for vestibular disease. I thought it sounded a lot like what I'm seeing as well except for the eye movement and nausea. If by some miracle, that's all he has, I'll count myself very lucky.
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Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 29, '13 12:37pm PST 
Capone, I don't have much to offer. I'm glad you are seeing a neurologist because it doesn't sound like a simple case. I hate the idea that this will probably get worse. You can definitely ask some of your questions to your dr.

I sure hope others can chime in with their experiences. Capone sounds very special too

hughughughughughughughughughug
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Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 29, '13 3:50pm PST 
Ah, I'm sorry, Capone. In all cases I've heard about the rapid eye movement was the outstanding symptom with the others resulting from the extreme dizziness. I have seen it without any nausea, but never without that eye movement.
Hopefully, we are wrong and he DOES have CVD!!! I'll be praying and thinking of you!
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Sabi

When the night- closes in I will- be there
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 30, '13 12:12am PST 
Capone we will be praying Toto is right. She usually is. Please keep us posted either way.
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Capone

Noms for the- pug...
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 30, '13 6:17am PST 
Thank you all. I figured it was too much to hope for, but it was nice to think about the possiblity. I'm still holding out hope that he might improve a little. He's at least getting more comfortable with his new limitations and learning how to maneuver better throughout the house. He can even make a left turn occasionally now when it's absolutely necessary, which he would not do before.

So we're adjusting. I got him some elevated bowls and that helped his stability while drinking water a lot. I'm working on coaxing him to eat out of his bowl again. Last night, he ate a little on his own after I mixed in some cheese with his kibble. Then, he ate again when I held the bowl for him. So we're making slight progress there.

We're starting to sleep better too. He spent some time sleeping on the bathroom rug and on some towels in his favorite spot in the spare bedroom. But we had a scare in the middle of the night. He must have crawled up under the bed and I woke up at 3am to him running around in circles under me, unable to get back out because he couldn't figure out that he needed to crawl under the frame again. He was in a panic. I managed to get him out, but he trembled for a while after that.

I wanted to thank everyone for all the support. This is probably the most difficult thing I've ever had to go through and it really helps to be able to come on here and talk to people who understand.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 30, '13 7:05am PST 
I have no advice or options to offer but you and Capone certainly have our prayers and support.hughughughughughughughughughughughughughughughughughughug
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Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
 
 
Barked: Fri Aug 30, '13 6:50pm PST 
I'm glad we can be here for you. I totally get wanting to get support from people who really love their dogs. We get it...the love you have for him. You also come to realize being here that the other dogs really touch your hearts too. I can't tell you how many tears I have lost for dogs here on dogster that I have never met. I know some would think that's nuts, but not the folks here. They get it.

I'm really rooting for Capone. He already has a special place in my heart. Your rosette meant a lot too. I love how you are making whatever adjustments you need to for him. I'm sending him lots of PoP. We are here for you. Hopefully one day at a time, baby steps with more adjustment time. You come to find that dogs are really resilient. Big hugs Capone!

hughughughughughughughughughughughug

Edited by author Fri Aug 30, '13 6:50pm PST

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